Seattle Mayor-Elect Murray Pulls Sawant Into His Minimum Wage Task Force

Dec 19, 2013

Seattle’s incoming mayor has convened a task force to study boosting the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, and he has asked incoming socialist city council member Kshama Sawant to join.

Mayor-Elect Ed Murray said he believes it is a necessary step toward tackling economic inequality, but he also insists he is not prejudicing the outcome of the committee. In addition to Sawant, his 23-member task force includes business interests, organized labor and community groups.

Murray said he’ll listen closely to concerns that raising the wage will push businesses to cut jobs.

“I think the data might contradict the idea that people will lose their jobs because of this,” Murray said. “But I think we need to look at the data and be honest about that data. We’ll be very transparent and provide you all in the public with all the data we collect.”

Business groups have been skeptical of big hikes in the minimum wage. But committee member Bob Donegan, speaking in part for the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, insisted “everything’s open; nothing’s decided.”

Murray campaigned on nudging the minimum wage up to $15 by the end of his four-year term.

Sawant earlier this week called that timeline too slow. She said she’ll work with the task force, but won’t hesitate to take the issue directly to voters next year.